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Humor in PsychoTherapy: From Pain to Creative Legacy

So, today, when I look back in retrospection, I have insights to help you recycle your pain and anxiety into creative legacy. If you pursue them, maybe they’ll become a beautiful identity! Before I begin, you must know that it is not like, if I can do it, you can do it too, because no matter what, our circumstances are different, right? Also, if your situation is really tough, do avail mental health support, don’t be in a pressure to be productive, and do not think of my suggestions as romanticizing pain because I don’t endorse that. There’s nothing romantic about pain and anxiety.

My No. 1 recommendation is of course Humor. Humour is a powerful coping mechanism to channel your creativity. People might find it weird that in pain you are trying to laugh, they might remark if you are a psycho, but trust me, it is immense intelligence if you know how to see the truth and things it makes us do with humor so that it doesn’t intimidate all. Consider Robin Williams, a renowned comedian who often wove his personal struggles into his performances. His ability to find humor in adversity not only brought joy to others but also served as a therapeutic outlet for himself.

No 2 is Creative Writing. Writing is always a great way to process and channel your stress. You know when you write, whether on your Google docs or on paper, you are singling out your thoughts and giving them coherence. You can see the shit in your mind. A spin of thread is nothing, unless you put it to some use, maybe to patch some tattered cloth or do some embroidery. It is the same with writing. J.K. Rowling’s experiences with depression influenced her to use the thread of ideas in her head to stitch the Harry Potter series. Isn’t it clever?

No 3 is Painting. Art, I think, is the most basic of all types of expressions as it needs no words. While fine arts is a discipline with a rigorous foundation to channel your pain and anxiety, you do not need to get into the fine arts part of it and just indulge. Dab your hand or brushes in colors and splay it all over, hatch out your imagination and just roll. The famous artist Vincent Van Gogh’s creative legacy documents emotional struggles greatly influenced his art. With paintings like “Starry Night” reflecting his inner turmoil, his use of bold colors and dramatic brushwork turned his personal challenges into celebrated art. It is surreal how art works!

No 4 is Music and Dance. Well, you still need the Internet or ink to write, colors to paint, but you are blessed with a voice for music and body for dance. These two  are powerful to channel your stress and anxiety creatively. You know all the reality shows where people come from extreme backgrounds to perform music and dance. It tells me that you just do it. Did you know that Ludwig van Beethoven, despite his progressive deafness, used his personal struggles to compose profound music. His Ninth Symphony, created when he was nearly deaf, showcases how adversity can be transformed into a timeless masterpiece.

No 5 is Mindfulness and Reflection: When our bodies are done and tired of pain and anxiety, meditation is a great tranquilizer to ease our stressed bodies. Trying to bring your body into a state of calm, not only from noises, but into acceptance of your situation as fast as possible, helps you pivot like Steve Jobs did with the innovation of Apple. During his lifetime, he attributed much of his clarity and creativity to his meditative pursuits that helped him maintain focus and inventiveness even under stress. What a brilliant person was he in this regard! 

See, once we are upset, broken, in pain, anxious, we are at the dead end of our emotional spectrum but we are also at the start to set our creative legacy. What will you do with this baggage, even airports will charge you, right? So, recycle them. Put your learning into perspective. Can’t figure out any learning? No problem, just thrust yourself toward light like the plant in the dark room. If you are availing counseling, use my suggestions as a mindset strategy for growth. Just like me, with 3 books of poems already, you may also find light at the end of your experience.

Linda Ashok

Linda Ashok is an India English Poet & Polymath. She is a mental health advocate studying Psychology from IGNOU'25.